LYNK-003 Trial Evaluating LYNPARZA® (olaparib) With or Without Bevacizumab in Patients With Unresectable or Metastatic Colorectal Cancer to Stop for Futility

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July 18, 2022 4:00 pm ET

RAHWAY, N.J., July 18, 2022 – Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, will stop for futility the Phase 3 LYNK-003 trial investigating LYNPARZA with or without bevacizumab for the treatment of patients with unresectable or metastatic colorectal cancer who have not progressed following first-line induction. This action follows the recommendation of an independent Data Monitoring Committee (DMC), after the DMC reviewed the data from a planned interim analysis. LYNPARZA is a PARP inhibitor that is being co-developed and co-commercialized with AstraZeneca.

At the pre-specified interim analysis for progression-free survival, the efficacy of LYNPARZA as a monotherapy and in combination with bevacizumab relative to control met the criteria for futility by the DMC and accordingly, both experimental arms will be discontinued. No new safety signals were observed with LYNPARZA in this trial, and the safety profiles of both LYNPARZA monotherapy and LYNPARZA combined with bevacizumab in this trial were generally consistent with that observed in previously reported studies. Merck will inform study investigators of the recommendation from the DMC and will advise patients in the trial to speak to their physician regarding treatment options. Data from this study will be shared in a future scientific forum.

LYNK-003 is one of several trials initiated by Merck as part of the extensive LYNPARZA clinical development program. In addition to colorectal cancer, LYNPARZA is also being studied by Merck, in collaboration with AstraZeneca, as both monotherapy and in new combinations across a range of DNA damage response deficient tumor types, including metastatic prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, breast cancer and pancreatic cancer.

About LYNK-003

LYNK-003 is a randomized, open-label Phase 3 trial (ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT04456699) evaluating LYNPARZA in combination with bevacizumab and as monotherapy compared to bevacizumab in combination with fluoropyrimidine-based chemotherapy in 309 patients with unresectable or metastatic colorectal cancer who had not progressed following first-line induction. The primary endpoint is PFS, and secondary endpoints include OS, objective response rate, duration of response and safety.

About Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer starts in the colon or the rectum, and these cancers are referred to as colon cancer or rectal cancer depending on where the cancer starts. Colorectal cancer often begins with growths on the inner lining of the colon or rectum called polyps, which can change into cancer over time. Worldwide, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer and is the second leading cause of cancer death, with 1,932,000 new cases diagnosed and 935,000 deaths from the disease in 2020. In the United States, it is estimated there will be more than 106,000 new cases of colon cancer and nearly 45,000 new cases of rectal cancer diagnosed, and nearly 53,000 deaths from colorectal cancer in 2022.

About LYNPARZA® (olaparib)

LYNPARZA is a first-in-class PARP inhibitor and the first targeted treatment to potentially exploit DNA damage response (DDR) pathway deficiencies, such as BRCA mutations, to preferentially kill cancer cells. Inhibition of PARP with LYNPARZA leads to the trapping of PARP bound to DNA single-strand breaks, stalling of replication forks, their collapse and the generation of DNA double-strand breaks and cancer cell death. LYNPARZA is being tested in a range of tumor types with defects and dependencies in the DDR.

LYNPARZA, which is being jointly developed and commercialized by AstraZeneca and Merck, has a broad and advanced clinical trial development program, and AstraZeneca and Merck are working together to understand how it may affect multiple PARP-dependent tumors as a monotherapy and in combination across multiple cancer types.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

CONTRAINDICATIONS

There are no contraindications for LYNPARZA.

WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS

Myelodysplastic Syndrome/Acute Myeloid Leukemia (MDS/AML): Occurred in approximately 1.5% of patients exposed to LYNPARZA monotherapy, and the majority of events had a fatal outcome. The median duration of therapy in patients who developed MDS/AML was 2 years (range: <6 months to >10 years). All of these patients had previous chemotherapy with platinum agents and/or other DNA-damaging agents, including radiotherapy.

Do not start LYNPARZA until patients have recovered from hematological toxicity caused by previous chemotherapy (≤Grade 1). Monitor complete blood count for cytopenia at baseline and monthly thereafter for clinically significant changes during treatment. For prolonged hematological toxicities, interrupt LYNPARZA and monitor blood count weekly until recovery.

If the levels have not recovered to Grade 1 or less after 4 weeks, refer the patient to a hematologist for further investigations, including bone marrow analysis and blood sample for cytogenetics. Discontinue LYNPARZA if MDS/AML is confirmed.

Pneumonitis: Occurred in 0.8% of patients exposed to LYNPARZA monotherapy, and some cases were fatal. If patients present with new or worsening respiratory symptoms such as dyspnea, cough, and fever, or a radiological abnormality occurs, interrupt LYNPARZA treatment and initiate prompt investigation. Discontinue LYNPARZA if pneumonitis is confirmed and treat patient appropriately.

Embryo-Fetal Toxicity: Based on its mechanism of action and findings in animals, LYNPARZA can cause fetal harm. A pregnancy test is recommended for females of reproductive potential prior to initiating treatment.

Females

Advise females of reproductive potential of the potential risk to a fetus and to use effective contraception during treatment and for 6 months following the last dose.

Males

Advise male patients with female partners of reproductive potential or who are pregnant to use effective contraception during treatment and for 3 months following the last dose of LYNPARZA and to not donate sperm during this time.

Venous Thromboembolic Events: Including pulmonary embolism, occurred in 7% of patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer who received LYNPARZA plus androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) compared to 3.1% of patients receiving enzalutamide or abiraterone plus ADT in the PROfound study. Patients receiving LYNPARZA and ADT had a 6% incidence of pulmonary embolism compared to 0.8% of patients treated with ADT plus either enzalutamide or abiraterone. Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, and treat as medically appropriate, which may include long-term anticoagulation as clinically indicated.

ADVERSE REACTIONS—First-Line Maintenance BRCAm Advanced Ovarian Cancer

Most common adverse reactions (Grades 1-4) in ≥10% of patients who received LYNPARZA in the first-line maintenance setting for SOLO-1 were: nausea (77%), fatigue (67%), abdominal pain (45%), vomiting (40%), anemia (38%), diarrhea (37%), constipation (28%), upper respiratory tract infection/influenza/nasopharyngitis/bronchitis (28%), dysgeusia (26%), decreased appetite (20%), dizziness (20%), neutropenia (17%), dyspepsia (17%), dyspnea (15%), leukopenia (13%), urinary tract infection (13%), thrombocytopenia (11%), and stomatitis (11%).

Most common laboratory abnormalities (Grades 1-4) in ≥25% of patients who received LYNPARZA in the first-line maintenance setting for SOLO-1 were: decrease in hemoglobin (87%), increase in mean corpuscular volume (87%), decrease in leukocytes (70%), decrease in lymphocytes (67%), decrease in absolute neutrophil count (51%), decrease in platelets (35%), and increase in serum creatinine (34%).

ADVERSE REACTIONS—First-Line Maintenance Advanced Ovarian Cancer in Combination with Bevacizumab

Most common adverse reactions (Grades 1-4) in ≥10% of patients treated with LYNPARZA/bevacizumab compared to a ≥5% frequency for placebo/bevacizumab in the first-line maintenance setting for PAOLA-1 were: nausea (53%), fatigue (including asthenia) (53%), anemia (41%), lymphopenia (24%), vomiting (22%) and leukopenia (18%). In addition, the most common adverse reactions (≥10%) for patients receiving LYNPARZA/bevacizumab irrespective of the frequency compared with the placebo/bevacizumab arm were: diarrhea (18%), neutropenia (18%), urinary tract infection (15%) and headache (14%).

In addition, venous thromboembolic events occurred more commonly in patients receiving LYNPARZA/bevacizumab (5%) than in those receiving placebo/bevacizumab (1.9%).

Most common laboratory abnormalities (Grades 1-4) in ≥25% of patients for LYNPARZA in combination with bevacizumab in the first-line maintenance setting for PAOLA-1 were: decrease in hemoglobin (79%), decrease in lymphocytes (63%), increase in serum creatinine (61%), decrease in leukocytes (59%), decrease in absolute neutrophil count (35%) and decrease in platelets (35%).

ADVERSE REACTIONS—Maintenance Recurrent Ovarian Cancer

Most common adverse reactions (Grades 1-4) in ≥20% of patients who received LYNPARZA in the maintenance setting for SOLO-2 were: nausea (76%), fatigue (including asthenia) (66%), anemia (44%), vomiting (37%), nasopharyngitis/upper respiratory tract infection (URI)/influenza (36%), diarrhea (33%), arthralgia/myalgia (30%), dysgeusia (27%), headache (26%), decreased appetite (22%), and stomatitis (20%).

Study 19: nausea (71%), fatigue (including asthenia) (63%), vomiting (35%), diarrhea (28%), anemia (23%), respiratory tract infection (22%), constipation (22%), headache (21%), decreased appetite (21%) and dyspepsia (20%).

Most common laboratory abnormalities (Grades 1-4) in ≥25% of patients who received LYNPARZA in the maintenance setting (SOLO-2/Study 19) were: increase in mean corpuscular volume (89%/82%), decrease in hemoglobin (83%/82%), decrease in leukocytes (69%/58%), decrease in lymphocytes (67%/52%), decrease in absolute neutrophil count (51%/47%), increase in serum creatinine (44%/45%), and decrease in platelets (42%/36%).

ADVERSE REACTIONS—Advanced gBRCAm Ovarian Cancer After 3 or More Lines of Chemotherapy

Most common adverse reactions (Grades 1-4) in ≥20% of patients who received

LYNPARZA for advanced gBRCAm ovarian cancer after 3 or more lines of chemotherapy (pooled from 6 studies) were: fatigue/asthenia (66%), nausea (64%), vomiting (43%), anemia (34%), diarrhea (31%), nasopharyngitis/upper respiratory tract infection (URI) (26%), dyspepsia (25%), myalgia (22%), decreased appetite (22%), and arthralgia/musculoskeletal pain (21%).

Most common laboratory abnormalities (Grades 1-4) in ≥25% of patients who received LYNPARZA for advanced gBRCAm ovarian cancer (pooled from 6 studies) were: decrease in hemoglobin (90%), mean corpuscular volume elevation (57%), decrease in lymphocytes (56%), increase in serum creatinine (30%), decrease in platelets (30%), and decrease in absolute neutrophil count (25%).

ADVERSE REACTIONS—Adjuvant Treatment of gBRCAm, HER2-Negative, High-Risk Early Breast Cancer

Most common adverse reactions (Grades 1-4) in ≥10% of patients who received LYNPARZA in the adjuvant setting for OlympiA were: nausea (57%), fatigue (including asthenia) (42%), anemia (24%), vomiting (23%), headache (20%), diarrhea (18%), leukopenia (17%), neutropenia (16%), decreased appetite (13%), dysgeusia (12%), dizziness (11%), and stomatitis (10%).

Most common laboratory abnormalities (Grades 1-4) in ≥25% of patients who received LYNPARZA in the adjuvant setting for OlympiA were: decrease in lymphocytes (77%), increase in mean corpuscular volume (67%), decrease in hemoglobin (65%), decrease in leukocytes (64%), and decrease in absolute neutrophil count (39%).

ADVERSE REACTIONS—gBRCAm, HER2-Negative Metastatic Breast Cancer

Most common adverse reactions (Grades 1-4) in ≥20% of patients who received LYNPARZA in the metastatic setting for OlympiAD were: nausea (58%), anemia (40%), fatigue (including asthenia) (37%), vomiting (30%), neutropenia (27%), respiratory tract infection (27%), leukopenia (25%), diarrhea (21%), and headache (20%).

Most common laboratory abnormalities (Grades 1-4) in >25% of patients who received LYNPARZA in the metastatic setting for OlympiAD were: decrease in hemoglobin (82%), decrease in lymphocytes (73%), decrease in leukocytes (71%), increase in mean corpuscular volume (71%), decrease in absolute neutrophil count (46%), and decrease in platelets (33%).

ADVERSE REACTIONS—First-Line Maintenance gBRCAm Metastatic Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma

Most common adverse reactions (Grades 1-4) in ≥10% of patients who received LYNPARZA in the first-line maintenance setting for POLO were: fatigue (60%), nausea (45%), abdominal pain (34%), diarrhea (29%), anemia (27%), decreased appetite (25%), constipation (23%), vomiting (20%), back pain (19%), arthralgia (15%), rash (15%), thrombocytopenia (14%), dyspnea (13%), neutropenia (12%), nasopharyngitis (12%), dysgeusia (11%), and stomatitis (10%).

Most common laboratory abnormalities (Grades 1-4) in ≥25% of patients who received LYNPARZA in the first-line maintenance setting for POLO were: increase in serum creatinine (99%), decrease in hemoglobin (86%), increase in mean corpuscular volume (71%), decrease in lymphocytes (61%), decrease in platelets (56%), decrease in leukocytes (50%), and decrease in absolute neutrophil count (25%).

ADVERSE REACTIONS—HRR Gene-mutated Metastatic Castration Resistant Prostate Cancer

Most common adverse reactions (Grades 1-4) in ≥10% of patients who received LYNPARZA for PROfound were: anemia (46%), fatigue (including asthenia) (41%), nausea (41%), decreased appetite (30%), diarrhea (21%), vomiting (18%), thrombocytopenia (12%), cough (11%), and dyspnea (10%).

Most common laboratory abnormalities (Grades 1-4) in ≥25% of patients who received LYNPARZA for PROfound were: decrease in hemoglobin (98%), decrease in lymphocytes (62%), decrease in leukocytes (53%), and decrease in absolute neutrophil count (34%).

DRUG INTERACTIONS

Anticancer Agents: Clinical studies of LYNPARZA with other myelosuppressive anticancer agents, including DNA-damaging agents, indicate a potentiation and prolongation of myelosuppressive toxicity.

CYP3A Inhibitors: Avoid coadministration of strong or moderate CYP3A inhibitors when using LYNPARZA. If a strong or moderate CYP3A inhibitor must be coadministered, reduce the dose of LYNPARZA. Advise patients to avoid grapefruit, grapefruit juice, Seville oranges, and Seville orange juice during LYNPARZA treatment.

CYP3A Inducers: Avoid coadministration of strong or moderate CYP3A inducers when using LYNPARZA.

USE IN SPECIFIC POPULATIONS

Lactation: No data are available regarding the presence of olaparib in human milk, its effects on the breastfed infant or on milk production. Because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in the breastfed infant, advise a lactating woman not to breastfeed during treatment with LYNPARZA and for 1 month after receiving the final dose.

Pediatric Use: The safety and efficacy of LYNPARZA have not been established in pediatric patients.

Hepatic Impairment: No adjustment to the starting dose is required in patients with mild or moderate hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh classification A and B). There are no data in patients with severe hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh classification C).

Renal Impairment: No dosage modification is recommended in patients with mild renal impairment (CLcr 51-80 mL/min estimated by Cockcroft-Gault). In patients with moderate renal impairment (CLcr 31-50 mL/min), reduce the dose of LYNPARZA to 200 mg twice daily. There are no data in patients with severe renal impairment or end-stage renal disease (CLcr ≤30 mL/min).

INDICATIONS for LYNPARZA in the United States

LYNPARZA is a poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitor indicated for:

First-Line Maintenance BRCAm Advanced Ovarian Cancer

For the maintenance treatment of adult patients with deleterious or suspected deleterious germline or somatic BRCA-mutated (gBRCAm or sBRCAm) advanced epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal cancer who are in complete or partial response to first-line platinum-based chemotherapy. Select patients for therapy based on an FDA-approved companion diagnostic for LYNPARZA.

First-Line Maintenance HRD-Positive Advanced Ovarian Cancer in Combination with Bevacizumab

In combination with bevacizumab for the maintenance treatment of adult patients with advanced epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal cancer who are in complete or partial response to first-line platinum-based chemotherapy and whose cancer is associated with homologous recombination deficiency (HRD) positive status defined by either:

  • a deleterious or suspected deleterious BRCA mutation and/or
  • genomic instability

Select patients for therapy based on an FDA-approved companion diagnostic for LYNPARZA.

Maintenance Recurrent Ovarian Cancer

For the maintenance treatment of adult patients with recurrent epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube, or primary peritoneal cancer, who are in complete or partial response to platinum-based chemotherapy.

Advanced gBRCAm Ovarian Cancer

For the treatment of adult patients with deleterious or suspected deleterious germline BRCA-mutated (gBRCAm) advanced ovarian cancer who have been treated with 3 or more prior lines of chemotherapy. Select patients for therapy based on an FDA-approved companion diagnostic for LYNPARZA.

Adjuvant Treatment of gBRCAm, HER2-Negative, High-Risk Early Breast Cancer

For the adjuvant treatment of adult patients with deleterious or suspected deleterious gBRCAm, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative high-risk early breast cancer who have been treated with neoadjuvant or adjuvant chemotherapy. Select patients for therapy based on an FDA-approved companion diagnostic for LYNPARZA.

gBRCAm HER2-Negative Metastatic Breast Cancer

For the treatment of adult patients with deleterious or suspected deleterious gBRCAm, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative metastatic breast cancer, who have been treated with chemotherapy in the neoadjuvant, adjuvant or metastatic setting. Patients with hormone receptor (HR)-positive breast cancer should have been treated with a prior endocrine therapy or be considered inappropriate for endocrine therapy. Select patients for therapy based on an FDA-approved companion diagnostic for LYNPARZA.

First-Line Maintenance gBRCAm Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer

For the maintenance treatment of adult patients with deleterious or suspected deleterious gBRCAm metastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma whose disease has not progressed on at least 16 weeks of a first-line platinum-based chemotherapy regimen. Select patients for therapy based on an FDA-approved companion diagnostic for LYNPARZA.

HRR Gene-mutated Metastatic Castration Resistant Prostate Cancer

For the treatment of adult patients with deleterious or suspected deleterious germline or somatic homologous recombination repair (HRR) gene-mutated metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) who have progressed following prior treatment with enzalutamide or abiraterone. Select patients for therapy based on an FDA-approved companion diagnostic for LYNPARZA.

Please see complete Prescribing Information, including Medication Guide.

About the AstraZeneca and Merck strategic oncology collaboration

In July 2017, AstraZeneca and Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, announced a global strategic oncology collaboration to co-develop and co-commercialize certain oncology products including LYNPARZA, the world’s first PARP inhibitor, for multiple cancer types. Working together, the companies will develop these products in combination with other potential new medicines and as monotherapies. Independently, the companies will develop these oncology products in combination with their respective PD-L1 and PD-1 medicines.

Merck’s focus on cancer

Our goal is to translate breakthrough science into innovative oncology medicines to help people with cancer worldwide. At Merck, the potential to bring new hope to people with cancer drives our purpose and supporting accessibility to our cancer medicines is our commitment. As part of our focus on cancer, Merck is committed to exploring the potential of immuno-oncology with one of the largest development programs in the industry across more than 30 tumor types. We also continue to strengthen our portfolio through strategic acquisitions and are prioritizing the development of several promising oncology candidates with the potential to improve the treatment of advanced cancers. For more information about our oncology clinical trials, visit www.merck.com/clinicaltrials.

About Merck

At Merck, known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, we are unified around our purpose: We use the power of leading-edge science to save and improve lives around the world. For more than 130 years, we have brought hope to humanity through the development of important medicines and vaccines. We aspire to be the premier research-intensive biopharmaceutical company in the world – and today, we are at the forefront of research to deliver innovative health solutions that advance the prevention and treatment of diseases in people and animals. We foster a diverse and inclusive global workforce and operate responsibly every day to enable a safe, sustainable and healthy future for all people and communities. For more information, visit www.merck.com and connect with us on TwitterFacebookInstagramYouTube and LinkedIn.

Forward-Looking Statement of Merck & Co., Inc., Rahway, N.J., USA

This statement of Merck & Co., Inc., Rahway, N.J., USA (the “company”) includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of the company’s management and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. There can be no guarantees with respect to pipeline products that the products will receive the necessary regulatory approvals or that they will prove to be commercially successful. If underlying assumptions prove inaccurate or risks or uncertainties materialize, actual results may differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.

Risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to, general industry conditions and competition; general economic factors, including interest rate and currency exchange rate fluctuations; the impact of the global outbreak of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19); the impact of pharmaceutical industry regulation and health care legislation in the United States and internationally; global trends toward health care cost containment; technological advances, new products and patents attained by competitors; challenges inherent in new product development, including obtaining regulatory approval; the company’s ability to accurately predict future market conditions; manufacturing difficulties or delays; financial instability of international economies and sovereign risk; dependence on the effectiveness of the company’s patents and other protections for innovative products; and the exposure to litigation, including patent litigation, and/or regulatory actions.

The company undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Additional factors that could cause results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements can be found in the company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2021 and the company’s other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) available at the SEC’s Internet site (www.sec.gov).

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